The top boys soccer player in the area is back in 2021.
Roberto Hurtado of P.K. Yonge dominated during his junior season, scoring in every game for the Blue Wave (17-4-1) en route to an area-leading 50 goals last fall. He also helped lead the Blue Wave to a Class 3A state playoff appearance last year.
P.K. Yonge coach Jose De Leon called Hurtado a “clinical finisher” and someone with an eye for the goal.
“Roberto has an excellent dribbling ability, as well as an explosive acceleration, agility, quick feet, and creativity when in possession of the ball,” he explained. “His excellent movement, tactical intelligence, and ability to beat the defensive line by making attacking runs into space both on and off the ball make our game more fluid and easier for his teammates.”
Hurtado, who scored at least two goals in 13 games, also added 19 assists.
De Leon said, Hurtado was able to play through pain last year because he has a high threshold, which is another thing that makes him a great team leader.
“Although he is a fierce competitor and has a high level of commitment and performance, Roberto is down to earth and humble, and has never been an alienated superstar,” De Leon said. “Everyone loves him because he is accessible, empathic and a motivator.”
The rising senior forward led the state of Florida in points and goals, and he finished top 10 in assists in the Sunshine State.
“Besides his incredible attitude, resilience, work ethic and commitment, Roberto is a versatile forward,” De Leon said. “He is very effective as a striker, but he can play as a winger, and is capable of playing on either flank, due to his ability with both feet.”
His favorite high school sports moments so far was beating school rivals such as Keystone Heights and Crescent City during the regular season “after many unlucky battles in the past.”
De Leon said Hurtado brought more to the program than goals and wins.
“He accelerated the cultural shift I wanted to implement in our program,” he said. “Roberto has an incredible work ethic and a relentless desire to improve himself.”
De Leon said the behavior became contagious among his teammates.
“It spread like wildfire among all players,” De Leon said. “He strengthened the sense of being a family because he behaves like a brother to all his teammates. Roberto sets the example, and everyone follows.”
After high school, Hurtado is hoping to play professionally and/or study psychology or management, perhaps with a specialty in sports psychology or sports management.
De Leon thinks highly of his talents, so playing at the next level is certainly a possibility.
“Roberto’s game is like an art gallery,” De Leon said. “Looking at him and how he is capable of cutting into the centre onto his stronger right foot from the left wing or creating chances and providing assists for teammates from either side due to his vision and soccer IQ, is just beautiful.”
This is the latest in a series on rising senior student athletes. To read Senior Spotlight features on the Class of 2021, click here.